The real stories behind the scenery of America’s national parks.
For 12 years, Andrea Lankford lived in the biggest, most impressive national parks in the world, working a job she loved. She chaperoned baby sea turtles on their journey to sea. She pursued bad guys on her galloping patrol horse. She jumped into rescue helicopters bound for the heart of the Grand Canyon. She won arguments with bears. She slept with a few too many rattlesnakes.
Hell yeah, it was the best job in the world! Fortunately, Andrea survived it.
In this graphic and yet surprisingly funny account of her and others’ extraordinary careers, Lankford unveils a world in which park rangers struggle to maintain their idealism in the face of death, disillusionment, and the loss of a comrade killed while holding that thin green line between protecting the park from the people, the people from the park, and the people from each other. Ranger Confidential is the story behind the scenery of the nation’s crown jewels - Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Great Smokies, Denali. In these iconic landscapes, where nature and humanity constantly collide, scenery can be as cruel as it is redemptive.
©2010 Andrea Lankford (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
No Plot Spoilers.
I downloaded this since my Mom and I were going to be driving around the plains and seeing a few of the National Parks. I grew up doing this on the East and West Coasts; I have a lot of respect for the Parks Service and the Rangers because of this. There is no question that they do a difficult and, at times, dangerous job.
That being said:
Julia Motyka should be banned from reading books. Her narration made this book unlistenable.
The forward was the most self congratulating and cringeworthy drivel I have heard in a long time, if not ever. Right up to the horrifying "Hell yeah!". I just shuddered thinking about it again. We were looking for something relatively light to pass the time, not 100 ways to die in the Parks you're about to go visit. Oh, and in case you all didn't know, criminals take vacations too. I'm pretty sure they just call it 'hiding', Andrea.
This may be a great book that picks up once you get past the first few chapters, but Motyka made that option unavailable to us. If you like grating saccharin noise while you drive/walk/whatever, go for it. As for me, I am returning this ASAP.
As a longtime backpacker in places such as Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Glacier national parks, I made myself listen to the entire book, although I found it excruciating. The book is a mishmash and overwritten to the point that one almost cannot blame the narrator for her overly dramatic rendition of the narrative. This is the People Magazine version of important issues that have faced the Park Service for years. Books such as Over the Edge: Death in the Grand Canyon and Not without Peril: 150 Years of Misadventure in the White Mountains come at some of these issues more peripherally but perhaps with less high drama. This book is very overwritten.
Post apocalyptic listener with some thrillers mixed in. Follow me on twitter at @drewsant
‘Ranger Confidential’ is an uncensored look at those who protect America’s National Parks. Well written and poignant, the book is a must read for those who are thinking about working in the national parks, and those starting to learn about the outdoors. However if you’re looking for something that makes you want to grab your back and head out to the trail look somewhere else. Reading the article about this book in ‘Backpacker’ magazine I knew parts were going to be sad and gory but I figured that they would be interspersed with sun antidotes about pranks or fun times in the back country, but I was wrong. While there are some (very few) times where the beauty of the parks shows through, or something goes write, if you were to believe this book the life of a ranger really sucks. The book seems to say that they pretty much go from one search and rescue to another while getting paid like crap, and after a while it makes the author seem to be a bit whiny.
Ms. Motyka's narration is OK. She does a good job with the various characters and male voices, but at times she sounds a bit electronic.
I was hoping for SOME comic relief after reading the reviews. Instead I got many details about the deaths of people who made horrible decisions in beautiful and dangerous places. There were some happier stories but they were too few and far in between.
Less death and tragedy.
I am not sure and I can't compare.
It was a series of stories that did reveal the dangers of our national parks. I am not sure if it was worth the time listening to that much death and carnage. It may have been, just wasn't the book I was hoping for. This may be more my mistake than the author's fault.
most of the books I've listen to our self-help business development. I decided to take a break. This is an amazing book I want to reach out to every park ranger and thank them for their selfless non-recognized efforts. I did not realize this book was more about an individual until the end. The stories kept me engaged. I camp, I hike, I backpack I did not realize the potential of some of the dangers that were around me.
Haven't written many reviews, I felt compelled to write this, thank you very much for the book.
I found this a fairly entertaining expose of the life of a park ranger, although at times (especially in the last few chapters) much attention was given to stories of others both within and without the park service. My only real problem relates to the unnecessary use of profanity. It distracts from and demeans otherwise good writing.
My major criticism is directed at the reader. Her voice, lilting and whimsical, just doesn’t fit the image of a ranger in the role of a law enforcer, rescuer, paramedic and Smokey Bear. She is better suited as a reader of a children’s book or fairy tale. It weighed on me to the extent I found difficulty finishing the last quarter of the book.
Well written and preformed. It will give you a lot of respect for NPS Rangers. Their lot is not an easy one and I am going to feel a lot safer when hiking and backpacking in our national parks.
I will never look at a Ranger the same way again! Sounds like it can be a tough life at times.
I downloaded the book before our summer vacation to one of the parks, so it was timely. A collection of National Park "slices of life" from a Ranger's perspective. Gives the reader a good look at not only "a day in the life" of a ranger, but also a broader insight into the career of a ranger. I liked it.
A de-romanticized account of the heroism, grit, and harsh realities of park rangers and their profession. Entertaining humor and cynicism.
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